Gregory Cajete is a Native American educator whose work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of Indigenous knowledge in education. Dr. Cajete is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar in the ethno botany of northern New Mexico and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission. In addition, he has lectured at colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, England, France, and Germany. He worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for twenty-one years. While at the Institute, he served as Dean of the Center for Research and Cultural Exchange, Chair of Native American Studies, and Professor of ethno-science. He organized and directed the first and second annual National Native American Very Special Arts Festival held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1991 and in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1992. In 1995, he was offered a position in American Indian education at the University of New Mexico’s College of Education. Currently, he is director of Native American Studies and a professor in the Division of Language, Literacy, and Socio-Cultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico.
Dr. Cajete earned his bachelor of arts degree from New Mexico Highlands University with majors in both Biology and Sociology and a minor in Secondary Education. He received his masters of arts degree from the University of New Mexico in Adult and Secondary Education. He received his PhD from International College—Los Angeles, the New Philosophy Program in Social Science Education with an emphasis in Native American Studies.
Dr. Cajete has received several fellowships and academic distinctions, including the American Indian Graduate Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education (1977–78); the D’Arcy McNickle Fellowship in American Indian History from the Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois (1984–85); and the first Katrin H. Lamon Fellowship in American Indian Art and Education (1985–86) from the School of American Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Dr. Cajete is a practicing ceramic, pastel, and metal artist. He is extensively involved with art and its applications to education. He is also a scholar of herbalism and holistic health. In this capacity, he has researched Native American, Chinese, and Ayurvedic healing philosophies and the cultural perspectives of health and wholeness.Dr. Cajete also designs culturally responsive curricula geared to the special needs and learning styles of Native American students. These curricula are based upon Native American understanding of the “nature of nature.” He utilizes this foundation to develop an understanding of the science and artistic thought processes that are expressed in Indigenous perspectives of the natural world.
Dr. Cajete has authored seven books: Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education, (1994); Igniting the Sparkle: An Indigenous Science Education Model, (1999); Spirit of the Game: Indigenous Wellsprings (2004); A People’s Ecology: Explorations in Sustainable Living; and Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence (1999 and 2000).
With Don Jacobs (Four Arrows) and Jongmin Lee, he has also authored Critical Neurophilosophy and Indigenous Wisdom (2009). Dr. Cajete also has chapters in sixteen other books along with numerous articles and has made over 200 national and international presentations.